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Things That Sometimes Happen
illus. by Marjorie Priceman
Schwartz Books, 2002
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Things That Sometimes Happen

Here are a few things that sometimes happen:

Happy Things: an unpopular Black Crayon proves to a Little Girl how useful he really is.

Sad Things: on a very hot day, an Ice-Cream Cone waits … and waits … to be eaten.

Exciting Things: a Papa catches cold, so his Little Boy gets to go to work instead!

These nine very short stories for very young readers—culled from Newbery Honor author Avi's first book and illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Marjorie Priceman—ingeniously capture the funny, surprising spirit of a child's imagination.

Behind the Book

I had been living in New York, with my wife and one child. I was struggling to be a published writer. I was also something of an amateur cartoonist. Let me stress the word amateur. For a friend I had made up some humorous greeting cards—this was quite a while before such cards became popular.

A writer friend saw these cartoons, and brought them—with a manuscript she had written—to an editor. The editor was not interested in my friend’s writing, but called me up and asked me to illustrate a picture book. I said I was only an amateur artist, but was a professional writer. She didn’t quite believe me. “Then write and illustrate a book for me,” she said.

I had already tried, unsuccessfully, to write a book for young people. This time I used a collection of very short stories I had made up for my son, young Shaun. I wrote them out and illustrated them and offered them to that editor. She turned everything down.

But—I took out the illustrations, and the book was offered to other editors. Eventually it was taken. It would be titled, Things That Sometimes Happen, my first published book—1970. It was recently re-published, so it’s been around for (oh, my!) forty years.

Awards and Honors

Family Fun, Best Books of the Year, 2002


Kirkus Reviews: 

“Avi at his most Margaret Wise Brown-esque, in nine offbeat, gnomic tales, drawn from the 30 in his first, same-named collection (1970) … these are daffy and nonsensical … with bright, swirling, vigorously brushed scenes reminiscent of color-drenched Chagall. These cheerfully unconventional, irresistibly buoyant episodes will brighten any young child's outlook—and cheer up some adults too.”



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